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Mat Pilates - More Convenient, Complete and...Less Expensive!


June 1, 2015 by Bob Hannum

The Two Pilates

But Only Mat Pilates Is Complete!

Pilates is really 2 different workout methods. One uses special equipment. The other - mat Pilates – requires no equipment at all. Both were originally created by Joseph Pilates nearly 100 years ago and have stood the test of time. Both are very effective. Both have been refined with added exercises and props ever since his death in the ‘60’s, and both have achieved worldwide popularity.

Mat Pilates

Which one is better? Mat Pilates is better hands down, and stick with me a moment because by the time you finish this brief article, you'll probably agee!
Don’t get me wrong! I’ve used and even taught the machinery and it’s a fine workout, but mat Pilates offers several benefits you can’t get with the machines. Let’s look at what they are.


First, mat Pilates is so much more convenient. You don’t need equipment, so you don’t need a gym or a class or an instructor. Suddenly, you’re free to exercise anywhere and anytime rather than squeeze your schedule around gyms, classes and instructors. Suddenly your workout routine is more regular because it doesn’t matter where you are. You can be visiting friends or relatives. You can be in a hotel room during business travel or a vacation. You can be working out during your work break in some quiet corner of the break room. I even do Pilates in airport terminals while waiting for my next flight!

Pilates Mat ExercisesLess Expensive

Second, there’s money to be saved – lots of it! No more expensive gym, class or instructor fees. And no expensive home equipment which most of us never use much anyway!

Top Fitness Trend

Next, you’re joining
the top trend in the fitness world. That's right. For the second year in a row the top fitness trend around the world, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in their annual survey, is called ‘Body Weight Training’ and it’s just that – using your own body for exercise. ACSM says it’s #1 because it’s convenient, inexpensive and ‘back to basics.’ Mat Pilates is the father of all body weight training workouts.

Complete Exercise

Best of all, mat Pilates gives you everything your body needs to get fit and stay fit. You can't get this with Pilates machinery. Here’s why - and few people understand this, even Pilates instructors! But first let me briefly explain what I mean by "everything your body needs..."

Exercise science has found that the body needs 3 distinct kinds of exercise – muscle building, stretching and cardiovascular conditioning (better known as cardio or aerobics). Any one of these alone will not keep you healthy. Exercise methods usually provide one of these. For instance, jogging or your favorite indoor stepper provides cardio, but not muscle building or stretching. Weight-lifting machines gives you muscle tone, but not cardio or stretching. Yoga is excellent stretching, but no cardio or muscle building.

A few methods combine two, such as Curves which combines strength and cardio. Mat Pilates ExercisesA few workouts – very few – combine all three. Mat Pilates is one of them – combining all three into one complete workout, thereby saving you lots of time.

Now stay with me a moment because here's why Pilates machinery can NEVER give you all three. The machinery will give you stretching and muscle building but not cardio. Fitness research has established that in order for a cardio workout to give you its heart-healthy benefits, you must elevate your heart rate to what is known as a 'Target Heart Rate' and sustain this level for a certain period of time. Anytime you have to adjust a machine as is the case before each Pilates machine exercise, you interupt your target
heart rate. In mat Pilates, once you memorize your routine, you move from one exercise to the next without any pause, thus sustaining your target heart rate for as long as you wish.

Which Came First

Interestingly, mat Pilates came first. Joseph Pilates invented both methods nearly 100 years ago, but his mat exercises came first, followed shortly thereafter by his first apparatus to help bed-ridden hospital patients and anyone else who couldn't exercise on a mat. In the years to come he would hold 26 patents for the invention of therapeutic furniture and exercise machines. Many of the fine Pilates machinery you see in studios today are variations on his original designs.

Once again I'm not putting down Pilates on machinery. It's WONDERFUL! But when the question is asked about what's more co
nvenient or what's more complete or even what's less expensive, let's not kid ourselves.

There are 34 original mat exercises. Many variations have been added over the years. This is one of the joys of Pilates – a vibrant and open tradition of refinement, creativity and change. Mat Pilates has been combined with yoga (Yogalates), Zumba (Zumbalates) and even boxing (Piloxing)!

It’s easy to learn and you can even start your mat Pilates adventure for free with my online lessons - simply sign up in the box at the top of the sidebar here on the right.

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